Sunday, May 25, 2008

Voodoo D-Jab

Hon Shin bought his first titanium mountain bike frame today:

The Haitian Creole word djab is derived from the French word, "diable," meaning, "devil," but the term in the context of Haitian Voodoo carries a different connotation. The congregation of a Houngan or Mambo [A Houngan or Mambo asogwe might be likened to a bishop in a Christian denomination.] who serves a djab is usually protected from possible acts of random aggression by the djab.

[ . . . ]

Certain particularly dishonorable djabs can be invoked to drain the life energy of a person and effect their demise. When a djab is held responsible for a person's death, the Creole phrase is not, "the djab killed the person," but instead, "the djab ate the person." This does not mean that the flesh of the person is eaten cannibalistically by the Houngan, Mambo, or Bokor who undergoes possession by the djab, and the djab has subsumed the person's life force.

An orthodox Houngan or Mambo is under oath never to do harm, therefore invocations of djabs are more frequently attempted by Bokors. [A Makaya priest is called a Bokor, and a priestess is sometimes referred to as Mambo, or sorceress. The Makaya practice is less uniform from parish to parish, and there is a stronger emphasis on magic rather than religion.] However, an orthodox Voodoo clergyperson may invoke a djab and even direct it to kill a person, if the person is a murderer, a repeat thief, a repeat rapist, and so forth.

Trivia: Voodoo Cycles was once banned from advertising and reviews on Mountain Bike Action magazine.

Voodoo Sally has some info on this company before it re-emerged in its present form.

A Voodoo D-Jab (pronounced "dee-hab") dressed in 3AL-2.5V titanium.

Voodoo D-Jab
Year:  2007
Seat tube length (center-to-top):  17"
(center-to-center):  14.5"
Effective top tube length:  22.48" (571 mm)
Chainstay:  16.54 - 16.93" (420 - 430 mm)
Head angle:  71 degrees w/ 100 mm travel
Seat angle:  73.5 degrees
Head tube diameter:  1-1/8"
Head tube length:  109 mm
Bottom bracket shell width:  68 mm
Bottom bracket drop:  17 mm
Bottom bracket height:  12.25" (311 mm)
Brake mount:  disc or rim
Dropout type:  vertical, sliding (20 mm range)
Seat tube internal diameter:  27.2 mm
Front derailleur clamp diameter:  28.6 mm
Standover clearance:  30.3" (770 mm)
Color:  Brushed Titanium
Weight:  1689 grams
Manufacturer's Part Number:  DJAB 17" BRUSHED

Sloping top tube, extended seat tube, offset machined headtube, head badge.
Adjustable dropouts have built-in tensioners to prevent slippage.
Brake: International Standard 51mm disc mount or linear brake (detachable brake post studs).
100mm travel fork with 470mm axle-to-crown.


Top and bottom tubes (left and right sides).

Seat tube, facing front.

Just below seat collar, facing rear.

Chainstay protector.

Interestingly, the downtube-headtube juncture is reinforced with a butterfly gusset.

Another view of the gusset.

Both chainstays are crimped on the inside to increase tire (and mud) clearance. The drive-side chainstay has an additional crimp on the outside.

V-brake / cantilever mounts on the seatstays are removable.

V-brake / cantilever hardware.
M10 x 1.0 steel brake bosses with 9 mm wrench flats.
M5 x 8 mm button head steel allen bolts (3 mm hex)
3.5 mm thick slotted aluminum mounting plates allow 1 mm of vertical movement.

Unusually long water bottle cage bolts.
M5 x 21 mm steel allen bolts (4 mm hex) with 0.4 mm thick washers

Cast aluminum seat clamp, marked "6J32" on the underside.
M5 x 22 mm steel allen bolt (4 mm hex) with 1 mm thick washer.
Bolt head is marked "H"

Sliding dropouts.

Another view. The chain hanger is a nice touch.

The slots are 2 mm deep and offer 20 mm of adjustability.

Sliding dropouts removed.
The rear tabs are 7 mm thick.
Rack mount holes are M5 x 7 mm deep.

Another one on the Voodoo Wanga. The dual-slot version does seem to look more robust than the single slot version.

For comparison, here's a single slot version manufactured by Paragon Machine Works, at Richmond, California. Moots uses this version in their slider dropout option.

Another version of the 2007 D-jab. Anecdotal accounts suggest that when the axle mount and disc brake tab do not move as a unit, but rather, separately, setting disc alignment and/or chain tension is guaranteed to provide endless hours of frustration. Get your blood pumping even before you hit the trail! Added value!  :-P

Sliding dropout hardware.
M6 x 18 mm dual-mounting steel allen bolts (5 mm hex) with 1 mm thick washers.
Bolts heads are marked "K"
2.8 mm thick aluminum face plates.
M5 x 40 mm tensioner steel allen bolts (4 mm hex)

Surprisingly, the sliding dropouts are not made of aluminum but titanium.
Sliding dropout thickness:  7 mm
Height of ridges (to engage slots on frame):  2 mm

MTBR review.

Current prices (as of May 25, 2008)

US$1,150 — Speedgoat Bicycles
US$1,258.60 —
US$1,324 — Universal Cycles
US$1,329.99 — Texas Cyclesport
US$1,499 — JensonUSA

The bike looks like a nice trail bike to flick around in narrow and twisty switchbacks. In fact, I am tempted to acquire one for myself; the 20" model has a seat tube angle of 72.5 degrees — perfect for my long femurs.

A chance to be Robert Underdunk Terwilliger in the forest. Hmm...

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Glenfiddich's tour of Desaru

Blue tracks = Day 1; red tracks = Day 2. Yellow boxes reflect highway numbers. Mileage in kilometers (1.6 km = 1 mile).

Let it fully load, then crank up the volume!

'Decided to stretch my legs today. My trusty tourer, Michelle, my 1992 Bridgestone MB-3, elected to accompany me. Somewhere along the way, another Bridgestone, a fixie, opted to come along.

We missed the 7:20 AM cut-off time (for checking-in the bikes) to make the 7:50 AM ferry, so we had 4 hours to burn. CSPM would be happy to join us — McDonalds! A little later, we had a surprise visitor: John (on his Kona Explosif)!

Nic went for a shower. Here, he is trying to make sense of a surreal sight: a cyclist in full time-trial gear, complete with an aerodynamic tear-drop profile helmet, in full-tuck, blazing along at 5 km/h, weaving wobbly among hordes of children on little bikes with trainer wheels, middle-aged housewives out for a stroll, out-of-control inline skaters with arms akimbo, and sweaty, greasy old men sucking on cancer sticks whilst ogling at lithe young things.

We screamed, "GO! GO! GO! SPEEDRACER!" but apparently, his aerodynamic ear covers made him faster than the speed of the sound. Or so he thinks.

Surreal sight II: I went to get a cold drink but...

The 11:50 AM ferry was delayed until 12:20 PM. By the time we reached Sebana Cove, it was 1:25 PM. In the parking lot, Nic tooted his horn at a Long-tail Macaque (Macaca fascicularis) and the grumpy critter nearly attacked him.

It was uncomfortably warm at 98°F (36.7°C). Road maintenance crews were at work on the plantation roads; we mistakenly rode over uncompacted asphalt and bitumen. A few sizzling grains went into my socks, and, as I danced — on my bike — like a man on fire, a cheeky worker quipped, "Panas, eh?

After 17 miles (27 km) of heat and headwinds, we stopped at the town of Sungai Rengit for drinks.

Or, in my case, food. (Yes, both bowls are mine.)

Just before we left Sungai Rengit, Nic and I found ourselves arguing (good-naturedly) about who should carry the extra bottles of water. As the bottles weighed 3.3 lb (1.5 kg) each, he wanted to carry his share.

NIC:  No, man! You are mad! Gimme one of the bottles!
BEN:  No way, dude! I'm carrying it. I've got panniers.
NIC:  Fuck, man! You are crazy! You are carrying an extra bottle around for nothing! GIVE IT TO ME!
BEN:  This coming from a dude who's lugging 1 liter of single-malt scotch in his messenger bag almost 200 km around Desaru.
NIC:  . . . I suppose you have a point.

The detours discovered on the previous ride remained every bit as fun and picturesque.

The penultimate slope before Desaru was brutal though: Nic saw black spots dance before his eyes; I saw stars.

Highlight of the day:  a school sports tournament was held nearby, and soon we found ourselves chasing school buses down long hills.

I hit 41.9 mph (67 km/h) on Michelle, and with panniers too!


Due to the long weekend holiday, all the hotels were fully booked. Nic spotted a hostel on top of a hill. Since we were prepared to spend the night under a tree, a bed and shower at a hostel remained a welcomed option.

NIC: Good shit, eh?


The typical cyclist has a thin, muscular body with a soft stomach (Jack Rose). More certain is a little brown tan mark on the back of the hand caused by riding in the bright sun while wearing cycling gloves (Walt Knapp). Another indication is white hands with tanned arms (Eric Cross). The cyclist's tan is recognizable because the person's back is fully tanned while the front is not (Eleanor MacMaster). Eric also pointed out that smoothly shaved legs on men are a clear sign. Many people reported a black mark on the inside right calf caused by the bike chain. Often, there is a clear outline.
         (Ken Kiefer)

Okay, I'm drunk. G'night!

There was a group of cyclists at the hostel. Looking over the map they were using, I noticed that its route starts from Dairy Farm Estate / Bukit Panjang. Looking at the top left hand corner, it said, "Desaru Ride." "HEY!" I yelled, "This is my map!" One of the gentlemen replied, "Oh, I downloaded it off Pedal Damn It!" At this point, Nic exclaimed, "He is Pedal Damn It!"

It owns  :-D

(Hi, Eric! I checked your bike in the morning. 'Glad to see you fixed your dragging rear brake.)

Ready for more punishment!

Breakfast at the log cabin clubhouse at Desaru Golf & Country Resort.

After demolishing a breakfast of 5 roti canai, 1 iced-tea, 1 coffee, 2 ais kacang, we headed north towards Tanjung Balau.

Yes, that's the same vehicle.

Leaving Tanjung Balau via its old road.

Panda Portrait!

(Ah, Mountain Charlie Road, I still remember it from my Skyline Boulevard rides.)

Here's Nic giving it to naysayers who claim that Desaru can't be ridden to on a fixed gear.

Actually, he went beyond Desaru.

And here's moi giving it to chubby religious wackos overweight morons who insist that I need to fast. (My BMI is 18.4, hello???) If you self-appointed religious rent-a-cops / pigs / frauds fast half as much as you talk, you would have starved to death.

2 Bridgestones.
Left:  26.4 lb (12 kg)
Right:  49.59 lb (22.54 kg)

The road to Sedili Kecil (1), (2).

19.4 miles (31 km) of quiet road.
Another time, perhaps.

As we tackled the hilly roads inland, temperatures climbed in tandem. 102°F (38.9°C) with no wind  :-(

The Petronas Petrol Station outside Desaru actually ran out of 100 Plus, so we settled for cold mineral water. Here, Nic waits for me at the junction to Highway 89 while I grind up the last hill.

11.5 miles (18.4 km) of hills to Tanjung Belungkor Ferry Terminal.

One of the gravity climbs.

2HardKore on a hardcore bike.

His rear brake has been disengaged since we left the hostel  ^_^

According to the policeman at the terminal, we came in 12th and 13th. 11 riders before us managed to make the 3 PM ferry.

With almost 2 hours to burn, Nic breaks open the goodies.

My retired Shimano SH-M225 cycling shoes have been resurrected!

With the trusty Shimano M737 SPD pedals, the gorges left by the wings of the Crank Brothers Eggbeaters are not an issue  :-D

Time to refuel:  2 shots or 2 gulps?

The crew treat your bike more kindly on the Tanjung Belungkor — Changi Ferry Terminal line.

Sign on hatch says, "Keep Closed At Sea."

A peek inside reveals a make-shift clothes dryer. But where does the heat come from?

Ah, the engine room.

Instead of conventional propellers, this vessel is propelled by water jets.

3 huge water jets.

Nic adds a 4th...

Pulau Tekong!

Dinner Lunch at 9 PM at Carl's Jr., Big Splash. (The cafeteria at Tanjung Belungkor Ferry Terminal was closed so we didn't get to eat.)

NIC:  How on Earth are we going to finish all this food?

NIC (answering his own question):  One bite at a time.

This ride powered by Glenfiddich.

Total distance:  cyclo-computer 123.3 miles (197.3 km)
Total elevation climbed:  Altimeter 2480 ft (756 m)
Temperature range:  78°F to 102°F (25.6°C to 38.9°C)